On the roads of social justice and economic fairness, endless of opportunities are awaiting us. Our rendez-vous with prosperity and development can not take place without an honest emancipation for those most disadvantage in our society, the poor.

Haiti, although a small country, is so fragmented that even the strongest epoxy resin could not put it back together. Whenever I hear the word development, a reduction in poverty is always what comes to mind. No real progress can be made if the poor are not including in the process.

In Haiti, the poor are basically faceless and voiceless. They are treated not as human, but instead as an obstacle. They are often exploited for the benefit of a very few. Under such conditions, it is most definitely impossible to hope of a better future.

I call for emancipating the poor because our current structure is holding them hostage under those sub-human conditions is not acceptable. As long as, we, human have ego and the ability to think, poverty will never be eliminated; however as social beings, we must always strive to reduce its rate.

There is a misconception about Haitians that would make others believe that we are a barbarous people, we have no compassion in our hearts for our fellow compatriots, we are too lazy to ever want to work, we have too many vices to ever work together. But in reality as a people we are very kind-hearted, devoted, hard-working and community oriented.

We share the pain of our neighbors as if it was ours. We leave with our doors open because we trust one other. And yet, for more than two centuries we have been unable to translate these good traits to move our country forward.

Haitians from all walks of life must stand up and demand that the exploitation of the poor comes to an end. They have a stake in the welfare of the country. We must treat them as brothers and sisters.

By emancipating the poor into the social fabric of the country, we will become a stronger nation. We could once again set the standard for the rest of the world as far as valuing the life of each individual is concerned.

Our country was not built by rich people. It was not built by scholars. In a sense, it could be part of the reasons why we never had a concrete plan for the whole nation. But the courage and sacrifices of our ancestors allowed us to be unique. We have accomplished something that no other nation on this planet has been able to replicate; we had given a new meaning to the idea that all men are created equal.

It shouldn’t have to take famine or a civil war for us to ask for what is fair. We must not wait for the days when the poor in Haiti are dying in great numbers before we could start feeling sick to our stomach. By the end of the next decade, Haiti could become a graveyard, as the rate of poverty continues to rise. I know that I have been very redundant in my columns, but it is worth mentioning once more, something must be done now to save Haiti.

We must draw a new national plan, where every Haitian will be included in the system. We need to sign a new social contract with the people. As a nation, we must create our own identity. We must define what it is to be Haiti in today’s world. The days of waiting on others to lend us a hand must end. With all the pride that we live with everyday, let’s start by refocusing on the premise of 1804, liberty or death.

Indeed, we must liberate our mind and body. We must take control of our destiny. We must cease to be afraid, and definitely, we must live by the creed that together we are one, and only in togetherness that we can find our strength.

No one should be left off the train of opportunity. If you see a fellow running after the train, yell to the driver to slow down. If you have everything that you will ever need in this life, you must be considerate of those who have nothing. Sharing a piece of bread today could add years to your life. The days of self-interest must end to make way for the dawn of collective interest.

The practice of amassing the wealth of a nation by a few families is not practical in today’s environment. We must widen the playing field. We must do right what our fathers have not.

Let’s end the hidden prejudices that have encumbered the subconscious of the controlling few in Haiti. Emancipation for the poor is a fundamental human right; let us not deny them any longer.

Contact Ilio at ilio@zanmi.com

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